Search Warrants in Metro Atlanta Lead to Six Arrested on Child Sexual Exploitation Charges

Decatur, GA (September 17, 2021) – A total of seven people were arrested and one molestation victim was identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, during a coordinated effort between the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit, and the GBI’s Special Enforcement Team (SET). Six of those arrested were charged with crimes related to the possession and distribution of child pornography pursuant to O.C.G.A. 16-12-100, Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007. One additional person was arrested on charges related to illegal drug possession. One of the arrestees was charged with illegal drug possession in addition to charges related to the possession and distribution of child pornography. Additional charges are possible and other arrests may occur after analysis of seized digital devices. The CEACC Unit investigated numerous cybertips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and partnered with GBI SET to execute search warrants related to those cybertip investigations. The cybertips involved the possession and/or distribution of explicit child sexual abuse images, commonly referred to as child pornography, that resolved to several metro Atlanta counties. The planning for this operation began approximately two months ago and culminated in four days of investigative actions to include search warrant executions, knock and talks, interviews, data and image analysis, digital forensic processing, and arrests.

GBI Investigates Officer Involved Shooting in Smyrna

(Smyrna, GA) - On Saturday, September 18, 2021, the GBI was requested by the Smyrna Police Department to investigate an officer involved shooting. 

Preliminary information indicates that at 3:22 p.m., officers responded to 3014 North Lincoln Trace Avenue, Smyrna, Cobb County, Georgia, following a 911 call about a suicidal man.  When officers arrived on scene, they found Unsfored Lewis Thurmond III, 27, of Smyrna, and attempted to negotiate with him for several minutes.  During the incident, Thurmond pointed a firearm that he had been holding towards officers.  An officer fired his gun, striking Thurmond.  Thurmond was taken to a local area hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. 

Man Arrested in Americus Homicide Investigation

Americus, GA (September 17, 2021) – On Friday, September 17, 2021, the GBI arrested Carlos Santana Washington, 38, of Americus, for one count of Felony Murder, two counts of Aggravated Assault and one count of Aggravated Battery. On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, the GBI Region 3 Office was requested by the Americus Police Department to assist with an investigation at the Kings Inn Motel located in the 1100 Block of North Martin Luther King Boulevard in Americus, Georgia. While at the scene, first responders found Nicole Ileia Keys, 38, of Americus unresponsive. Keys was taken to the Phoebe Sumter Regional Medical Center where she later died.

GBI Investigates Officer Involved Shooting in Cobb County

Marietta, GA (September 17, 2021) – On Friday, September 17, 2021, the GBI was requested by the Cobb County Police Department (CCPD) to investigate an officer involved shooting. Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 12:02 a.m., CCPD responded to 4592 N. Landing Drive, Marietta, Cobb County, Georgia, 30066, regarding a 911 call in reference to a domestic dispute regarding a suicidal man. 

Vidalia Man Arrested in Armed Robbery and Active Shooter Investigation

Vidalia, GA (September 16, 2021) – On Thursday, September 16, 2021, the GBI arrested Vonnie Harris III, age 22, of Vidalia, and charged him armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, aggravated assault on a peace officer (5 counts), and aggravated assault (4 counts). The Vidalia Police Department requested GBI’s assistance with this investigation.

Pickens County Man Arrested on Charges Related to the Human Trafficking of a Child for Sexual Purposes

Jasper, GA (September 16, 2021) – On Monday, September 13, 2021, Pickens County resident, Roland Buchanan, age 67, was arrested and charged with one count of Criminal Attempt to Commit the Offense of Human Trafficking, one count of Criminal Attempt to Commit Aggravated Child Molestation, one count of Pandering, and one count of Sexual Exploitation of Children by the GBI Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit. Information was received regarding Buchanan’s potential involvement in a transaction involving the exchange of currency for sexual contact with a child. An investigation was conducted by the GBI CEACC Unit, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, and the Homeland Security Investigations Office in Dalton, GA. This investigation led to a search warrant at a home in Jasper, GA, and resulted in the collection of evidence revealing that on multiple occasions, Buchanan was offering currency to an adult in exchange for sexual contact with a child who resided outside of the United States.

GBI Investigates Officer Involved Shooting in Cobb County

Smyrna, GA (September 14, 2021) – On Monday, September 13, 2021, the GBI was requested by the Cobb County Police Department (CCPD) to investigate an officer involved shooting. Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 9:45 a.m., CCPD officers responded to Concord Crossing Apartments, 2935 Old Concord Road, Building 525, Smyrna, GA in reference to a 911 call of shots fired. Cobb County SWAT encountered a barricaded man in an apartment with a reported second man/victim being held hostage inside.

Arrest Made in Lincoln County Double Drowning

Lincolnton, GA (September 10, 2021) – The GBI and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office arrested Shontover Kirkland, 32 years old, of Augusta, Georgia earlier today and charged her with one count of Reckless Conduct and two counts of Involuntary Manslaughter for the drowning deaths of Eynn Wilson and Edward Kirk Jr. that occurred on April 25, 2021, on Clarks Hill Lake in Lincoln County. Kirkland is being detained at the Lincoln County Jail.

GBI and Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office Make Arrest in Elder Exploitation Investigation

Colquitt County, GA (September 9, 2021) – On Tuesday, August 31, 2021, the GBI and Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office have charged Jean Allison Pignocco, age 54, of Olive Branch, Mississippi, with two counts of Exploitation and Intimidation of Disabled Adults/Elder Persons, two counts of Felony Theft by Taking, and one count of Kidnapping. Pignocco was arrested by the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office in Olive Branch, Mississippi, who assisted the GBI and Colquitt S.O. She was extradited back to Colquitt County after her arrest and booked into the Colquitt County Jail.

Clarke County Man Arrested for Child Sexual Exploitation

Athens, GA (September 7, 2021) – On Thursday, August 26, 2021, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit, arrested Justin Coates, 37, of Athens, Georgia. Coates was charged with five counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children (Distribution of Child Pornography). The GBI CEACC Unit began an investigation into Coates’ online activity regarding the online possession and distribution of images depicting child sexual abuse material. This investigation led to a search warrant at Coates’ residence in Clarke County. Coates was booked into the Athens-Clarke County Jail upon his arrest.